Aerobic sulfate reduction in microbial mats

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Science  22 Mar 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 5000, pp. 1471-1473
DOI: 10.1126/science.11538266


Measurements of bacterial sulfate reduction and dissolved oxygen (O2) in hypersaline bacterial mats from Baja California, Mexico, revealed that sulfate reduction occurred consistently within the well-oxygenated photosynthetic zone of the mats. This evidence that dissimilatory sulfate reduction can occur in the presence of O2 challenges the conventional view that sulfate reduction is a strictly anaerobic process. At constant temperature, the rates of sulfate reduction in oxygenated mats during daytime were similar to rates in anoxic mats at night: thus, during a 24-hour cycle, variations in light and O2 have little effect on rates of sulfate reduction in these mats.

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